2015 NBA Free Agent Signing Grades

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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2015 NBA Free Agent Signings: June 25 Update

Charlotte Hornets acquire SF Nicolas Batum
Portland Trail Blazers acquire SG Gerald Henderson and PF Noah Vonleh

This trade is a bit surprising and could potentially mark the beginning of a roster rebuild in Portland since starters LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez are all unrestricted free agents. Batum is a versatile forward, but I’m not sure how he fits next to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the wing, assuming Charlotte slides Kidd-Gilchrist to shooting guard. Neither guy is a real threat from downtown, which is a huge offseason need for the Hornets. Batum could be used as a smaller power forward though, which makes his versatility valuable.

Henderson has one year left on his deal and provides Portland with insurance at shooting guard since Matthews is a free agent and Arron Afflalo could opt out of his contract as well. Vonleh is a nice young piece to add and has an Aldridge-type game in that he has good size for the power forward position but can also face up and knock down open jumpers. It will be interesting to see where the Blazers go from here.

Grade For Charlotte: C

Grade For Portland: C-

Memphis Grizzlies acquire PG Luke Ridnour
Orlando Magic acquire SF Jannis Timma

The Grizzlies already have Mike Conley and Beno Udrih at point guard, so I am not sure where Ridnour fits into the equation. His $2.75 million contract is not guaranteed if he is waved before July 10th, but why would Memphis acquire him just to wave him since Timma isn’t under contract yet and counting against the cap. Memphis could try turnaround and trade Ridnour for another asset which would be the only reason this deal makes any sense. For Orlando, this move frees up even more cap space for this offseason.

Grade For Memphis: D-

Grade For Orlando: B+

2015 NBA Free Agent Signings: June 19 Update

Lance Stephenson To L.A. Trade

Los Angeles Clippers Get: Lance Stephenson
Charlotte Hornets Get: Spence Hawes and Matt Barnes

Last summer’s signing of Stephenson was supposed to be a major move to help the Hornets become more of a threat in the East. However, he never truly found his niche with the team and a deal seemed imminent. If Stephenson can return to form from his last year in Indiana, he will serve as an asset to a Clippers squad still looking to get over the hump and into the NBA Finals. If the deal doesn’t pan out, L.A. has a team option on the final year of Stephenson’s deal for the 2016-17 season and can simply cut ties. It’s a risk worth taking that didn’t cost much and let the Clippers shed Hawes’ contract, which is guaranteed for two more years.

Hawes struggled in his first season with the Clippers, but he brings some versatility to the Hornet frontcourt and provides insurance in case the team loses either Al Jefferson or Bismack Biyombo in free agency. If Hawes is not released, Barnes brings some chippiness to Charlotte and plugs the hole as a needed backup small forward to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. With Stephenson gone and Gerald Henderson possibly a free agent as well, expect the Hornets to focus on adding a shooting guard in the 2015 NBA Draft, free agency or via another trade.

Grade For Los Angeles: C+
Grade For Charlotte: D+

2015 NBA Free Agent Signings: June 15 Update

Ersan Ilyasova to Detroit

Detroit Gets: PF Ersan Ilyasova
Milwaukee Gets: SF Caron Butler and SF Shawne Williams

The Pistons give up next to nothing to add a versatile forward to their frontcourt and a needed stretch four. Ilyasova also provides an insurance policy in case Detroit is unable to re-sign unrestricted free agent Greg Monroe. If this deal doesn’t work out, the Pistons hold a team option on Ilyasova’s contract for 2016-17 that would pay him $8.4 million.

For Milwaukee, this was a move purely to create even more cap space since both Butler and Williams have non-guaranteed contracts, so don’t expect either player to be suiting up for the Bucks next season. Ilyasova is set to make $7.9 million in 2015-16, so this gives Milwaukee more flexibility in free agency where the team should have around $24 million to spend.

Grade for Detroit: C+
Grade for Milwaukee: B

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Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: [email protected].
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: [email protected]

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